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Arsenal close on Osasuna starlet

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Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is being linked with a move for Osasuna defender Cesar Azpilicueta.

An attacking full-back who fits the free-flowing Arsenal bill, Azpilicueta has a growing reputation across Europe and has been monitored by some of the top clubs on this continent.

The 20-year-old Spanish starlet has been in fine form for his hometown team this season, continuing to raise his standards after becoming a first team regular at the age of 18 in the 2007/08 campaign.

Azpilicueta joined Los Rojillos as a boy, representing Osasuna at youth team level and working his way through the club. This pattern has been replicated with his Spanish representation, playing at various junior levels from U17 to U21 and now challenging for a spot in Spain's 2010 World Cup squad.

Wenger has brought some of the finest La Liga talent back to north London in the past, and now the Daily Mail reports that the Frenchman is preparing a move for another young star.

Azpilicueta has a minimum fee release clause of £12 million, which could prove to be a stumbling block over a potential switch to the Emirates.

Wenger is contemplating an offer in the region of £7 million, and will hope that established links with the club could help secure a switch to the Gunners ahead of any other possible suitors.

Earlier this season, the player spoke on growing transfer speculation linking him with a move away from Reyno de Navarra.

"I know of rumours linking me with other clubs, but I have yet to speak with anybody. I can only concentrate on working with Osasuna," said Azpilicueta.

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Arsenal
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Premier League

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